Tuscan Fresca Pasta-Copycat Noodles and Company

Tuscan Fresca Pasta

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Up until this past year it had been many years since I had eaten at Noodles and Company, and I had only eaten there once. After becoming vegan I needed to find a multitude of options, even on the go options. Thanks to my trusty friend Google (and the Noodles allergen menu), I discovered Noodles had a few dishes that were vegan or could easily be made vegan by holding the cheese. I’m not big on peanuty stuff or super spicy weird stuff so the whole grain Tuscan Fresca stuck out. It was yummy simple pasta with tasty vegetables and a zesty olive oil dressing. I ordered it and loved it and have ordered it a number of times since. The last time I got to thinking, this is a very simple pasta dish and it’s so good I should make it at home. I planned to eventually, but last night I did unexpectedly. So here’s the deal we really need to go grocery shopping, but payday is still a week away. Things were getting pretty desperate so the other day we picked up just a few things to get us through (of course the way I eat it got us through two days). So back to hardly any food, but thanks to my tiny shopping trip I happened to have a few fresh veggies and they happened to be what’s in this pasta. The pasta I used wasn’t whole grain, I only had plain linguine, but it was still yummy and I personally love pasta in any form so long as it is vegan. I found one recipe on Pinterest that looked like it was a similar copycat recipe, but the pasta was different and the dressing was for fifteen servings. So, I decided to wing it and try my own thing.

INGREDIENTS

-1/2 Box (8oz) Linguine

– 1 Tomato

-1/2 Red Onion

-1/2 Bag (3oz) Baby Spinach

-1 clove (1 tsp) Minced Garlic

-1/4 Cup Olive Oil (+ 1 tbsp for sauteing)

-1/8 Cup White Balsamic Vinegar

-1/8 Cup Grape Juice or Sweet White Wine

-Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

You can do these in almost any order, I did them all kind of at the same time. I had the pasta cooking as I mixed my dressing and then sauteed my vegetables. I then drained the pasta, poured on the olive oil/fresca dressing so it didn’t stick together, finished up my veggies and mixed it all.

-Begin preparing pasta per instructions

-Heat tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pain on low-medium heat

-Prepare your dressing by mixing 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar, and 1/8 cup either grape juice or sweet white wine. (If you like it sweeter add more grape juice, if you prefer more zest add more vinegar, if you want less oily use less oil)

-Add the tomato and red onion to the heated frying pan and saute for 1-2 minutes, then add garlic and saute for another minute or until fragrant or onions are partially translucent. Don’t saute too long you still want your veggies kind of crunchy.

-When your pasta is cooked drain it and add in about 1/4 to 1/2 of your dressing to keep the noodles from sticking. Do not add it all, you can add more later if you like, but you don’t want too much.

-When the veggies are done and them to the pasta and mix

-Then add in the fresh spinach and mix. The heat from the pasta and veggies will wilt/cook it a bit, but not too much 🙂

-Add salt and pepper to taste and then add more dressing if you like.

This was very good as leftovers, I think because the dressing was able to soak in and marinate. Either way it was simple and although the directions look long it really only took fifteen minutes all together. Let me know what you think. 

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